ACA Enrollment Exceeds 6 Million Despite Doomsday Predictions
Enrollment for health insurance on the federal exchange marketplaces (HealthCare.gov) are showing increased numbers than what was seen last year during the same time period. According to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, more than 6.4 million people have enrolled for coverage in the 39 states were the exchanges are federally operated, including more than 2 new consumers. This number represents the number of consumers who needed to enroll by Monday’s deadline in order to have their coverage in place by January 1, 2017.
Despite rising premiums, dwindling insurers, and the Republican vow to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law, it’s been reported that about 400,000 more people signed up through Monday than for a comparable period in 2015. The 2 million new enrollees are down from the 2.4 million new customers who signed up during the same period last year, Burwell said. However, the administration has continued to report on record-breaking days for HealthCare.gov enrollment throughout the week, beginning on the original enrollment deadline of December 15.
“We’re going to finish this open enrollment by trying to enroll more people than ever,” Burwell said during a conference call with reporters. “Today’s enrollment numbers confirm that some of the doomsday predictions about the marketplace are not bearing out.” In fact, some of the biggest sign-up numbers so far are coming from states Trump won in the presidential election, including Florida (1.3 million); Texas (776,000); North Carolina (369,000); Georgia (352,000), and Pennsylvania (291,000). Vice president-elect Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana had 119,000 residents enrolled.
Moreover, the current enrollment figure of 6.4 million does not include current customers whose plans will automatically be extended by the end of the year or the enrollment in 11 states and the District of Columbia, which run their own exchanges. According to Secretary Burwell, the final enrollment results, which will include millions of additional people, will not be available until January.
However, some of the state exchanges have released enrollment numbers prior to Monday’s deadline. For example, Covered California had enrolled nearly 200,000 people as of Dec. 15, Washington Healthplanfinder in the Evergreen State had logged 180,000 as of Wednesday, and Your Health Idaho had enrolled almost 100,000 through Dec. 13. DC Health Link in the District of Columbia announced Friday that enrollment is 47 percent higher than a year ago, at more than 4,100 through Monday, while 28,000 people had signed up with Rhode Island’s HealthSource RI as of Saturday, a decline of 4,400 for the same period last year.
Although the 2017 enrollment period was faced with a number of unexpected circumstances, Secretary Burwell encouraged people to enroll. The Affordable Care Act remains the law and insurers are pledged to honor the coverage they sell during open enrollment, she said.
Source: The Huffington Post, December 21; Santa Rosa Press, December 22, 2016